Different types of work require different environments, but how do you choose the right one for your sector? Here, Sally Evans, Director of commercial property experts Making Moves, shares some top tips for optimising your office to suit your company goals.
Choosing the right working environment for your industry is extremely important, and can be a gamechanger in terms of staff happiness and productivity levels. When crafting a working environment for your business, you’ll need to consider both the tangible, physical aspects of the space, and also the intangible elements, such as what culture and atmosphere you create and how this impacts staff output.
While the needs of every company are different, there are plenty of commonalities within different sectors that can be extremely useful in finding what works for you. Here, we’ll go through some key industry sectors and discuss the ideal working environment for each type.
If your business is creative, you’ll need to make space for both the physical and company culture aspects of this. Creative organisations might include design or graphic agencies, arts and media, or creative technology firms, such as video game or app designers. Whatever your specific area, if you are generating ideas, you’ll need space for that to happen.
The most important aspect of creative environments is that they should foster collaboration and sharing ideas; staff need to be able to bounce thoughts off each other quickly. So, open plan offices tend to work best, either with hot desking or everyone having their own station. You should also incorporate some communal spaces where people can collect and discuss ideas, such as canteens or lounges as well as more formal meeting rooms. Then, you’ll need to invest in updated technology and hardware to ensure that you are ahead of the curve in your creative output. For example, interactive touch-screen displays can foster collaboration in breakout spaces and meeting rooms, helping get your teams away from their respective laptops and tablets and all working on the same page.
In the financial sector, office space tends to be more formal than in creative companies, and this is expected by employees and clients alike. Décor should be classic, subtle, and above all portray the business as a trusted authority within the industry. Make sure that you offer enough meeting rooms and private working pods to allow staff some quiet time for concentration. As well as this, you should ensure that you have enough space to allow for networking and progression events, as these will be expected by entry and mid-level employees.
One thing that is becoming increasingly important in the financial sector is more flexibility in terms of working hours and space. While the sector has traditionally been associated with long hours and hard work, many employees are now interested in changing this culture to enjoy a better work-life balance. So, provide a wider range of working environments to suit the individual needs of all employees, including the latest connective tech to facilitate seamless collaboration between staff at home and in the office. As this can be a stressful industry, improve your employees’ wellbeing by providing a breakout space for yoga, power naps or mindfulness.
Many e-commerce companies have found success with a hybrid working model, splitting time between an office space and home, and this trend looks set to continue. As homeworking becomes more common, ensure that all staff feel enthusiastic about coming into the office. Making the space a fun place to be might mean colourful décor, fun seating options and desks, and wellbeing spaces. Good ideas for this include high-spec, modern kitchens and café areas that employees can socialise and enjoy their lunch break.However, once in the office you should consider modern, fun décor as this reflect the sector well.
With a hybrid working model, it can be more difficult to bring employees together socially and foster strong working relationships. So, try to find some space to do in-office events and meetings, and foster a company culture of socialising and going to industry events. This way, even if you don’t have a full-time in-office presence, your employees — and therefore your business — can still be moving forward.
When working for a technology company, it goes without saying that people will expect the tech side of the business to be modern, efficient and industry-leading. So as your first measure, you should ensure that any online tools you use to distribute work or track projects are all running smoothly and using the most updated tech; you should also check if your communication tools are slick and performing optimally. You might even think about incorporating a VR space for people to really feel like they are in an in-person meeting. Then, you should provide a comfortable, fun working environment as this will encourage the best and brightest minds to enjoy spending time in your office space.
Providing powerful computer setups, comfortable and ergonomic desk chairs, and pleasant views will help those who need to concentrate on coding. Having food on-site in a café or canteen can encourage employees to enjoy their time at your office and spend longer solving problems.
One thing that you might want to think about including, is having customisable office spaces instead of set ones. This means having furniture pieces that can be moved around and fitted together in different formations to accommodate people’s needs. Tech involves a mixture of solo and team working, as well as brainstorming of problems, so having a fluid environment is very useful.
No two businesses are exactly alike, and tailoring your working environment to the type of work you do can make a huge difference in terms of staff satisfaction and output. So, use these tips to get started and find the optimum space and culture for your company.